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RT: Against xenophobic populism, for full citizenship rights for all migrant workers! (14 August 2011)

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Against xenophobic populism, for full citizenship rights for all migrant workers!
For the unity in struggle of native, foreign and mainland Chinese immigrant workers against oppression and exploitation!

For us, the “issue” of migrant workers stems from the extreme inequality between countries and regions created by global capitalism. As long as this extreme inequality persist, the movement of large numbers of workers from impoverished regions into relatively affluent ones in the hope for a better life will be inevitable. This also means that, governments and capitalists will carry on trying to fool the working people with statements such as “migrant workers are stealing your livelihood”.

Within this fundamental context, laws that deprive migrant workers of citizenship rights in particular and immigration control in general are nothing other than tools for the maintenance of the existing world division of labour and its regional inequalities, tools used by the state and capital in the pursuit of profits. Workers without citizenship rights are by definition excluded to the margins of society, people with little or no rights. As such, the current racist offensive instigated by the government, capital and populist politicians on the foreign domestic helpers’ right to apply for permanent residency is an attack to strengthen social polarization and class oppression. We are, therefore, determined in our opposition to this malicious attempt to split the working class: All workers—regardless of nationality or skin colour—must have full citizenship rights! For workers’ unity against all forms of discrimination, oppression and exploitation!

Hong Kong’s labour productivity is ranked the second most advanced amongst the world’s countries and regions, just below the U.S. In 2008, each worker in Hong Kong produced, on average, almost 60,000 USD worth of wealth. As toilers, the real problem we must pay serious attention to is not whether “native people” have been “taken advantage of” by migrant workers or expectant mothers from mainland China, but the extraordinary bullying and exploitation the capitalists have been subjecting all of us to. The most malevolent aspect of xenophobic populism lies precisely in the diversion of the seething discontent against vile living conditions amongst the native toilers into attacks against other toilers who have even fewer rights. Toilers of Hong Kong! It’s time to wake up! Our enemies are not foreign domestic helpers or mainland Chinese immigrants who are marginalized, powerless and without rights, but the capitalist system which exploits and oppresses all working people!

Moreover, capitalist immigration control and its entire political and legal apparatus exist to create the optimal conditions for capitalist exploitation. Even in the unlikely event that the ban on foreign domestic helpers’ right to apply for permanent residency is lifted in the name of capitalist “rule of law”, Hong Kong’s immigration controls will continue to serve the interests of capital in its discrimination and oppression of migrant working people. For example, the rule that limits the right of abode of non-native born foreign nationals to those who have been living in Hong Kong continuously for at least 7 years is a discriminatory and oppressive measure that contributes to super-exploitation.

We would support reforms that even partially ameliorate the appalling conditions of foreign domestic helpers. However, as communists, we do not seek to advise the ruling class on its immigration or other policies. Our aim is to facilitate this understanding amongst the multi-ethnic working class of Hong Kong: for us to live together in peace and enjoy a truly human existence, we must oppose the entire capitalist system. A real fight for equal rights for foreign and mainland Chinese migrant workers will only begin when the workers—native, foreign and mainland Chinese immigrant —struggle for their common interests as a class. This means workers and progressive youth in Hong Kong must oppose the state agencies of the ruling class and all pro-capitalist parties, crystalize into an independent revolutionary political force, and struggle to transform the split workers’ movement into a unified and powerful force for revolution.

Lastly, it is only through the victory of the world socialist revolution—with the social ownership of the main means of production and the democratic determination of political, economic and social development by the toilers—that material scarcity and class antagonisms can be abolished for good, laying the basis for the withering away of political violence, borders and immigration laws. The united struggle of native and migrant workers in Hong Kong will become an important link in the fight for social progress here, in the broader region and the world.

Against xenophobic populism, all workers must have full citizenship rights!
For the unity in struggle of native, foreign and mainland Chinese immigrant workers against oppression and exploitation!
Workers of the world, unite! Down with capitalism and for a new society of genuine freedom, equality and democracy!

Signed: a group of internationalist, revolutionary socialists
14 August 2011, Hong Kong

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